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Avoiding drowsiness behind the wheel

Minnesota drivers will want to make sure they avoid being drowsy behind the wheel. Sometimes, when there is a lack of comprehensive public transportation, drivers cannot help but travel drowsy. Other times, though, drivers are more clearly negligent.

For example, those who take prescription sleep aids know that they must sleep seven to eight hours before driving to overcome the grogginess. But one 2018 Consumer Reports survey, which involved 1,767 adult drivers in the U.S., found that one in five who take sleep aids head out within seven hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the average adult should get at least seven hours of sleep. If anyone does and still feels drowsy during the day, or if anyone wakes up frequently during the night, then he or she may have obstructive sleep apnea. Since prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness, those who take them may want to ask their doctor about a change to the dosage schedule.

Those who take long road trips may want to arrange for a partner to switch intermittently with them. If they are alone, they should pull over for a short nap once they recognize the symptoms of drowsiness, including droopy eyelids, constant yawning and memory lapses. Also, 150 milligrams of caffeine can make one temporarily alert.

Victims of car accidents may be able to recover damages if the other party was clearly at fault. Drowsy driving is hard to prove since there are no tests for detecting drowsiness. Those who are wondering about filing a claim, then, may want to consult a lawyer first. A lawyer might assist with the negotiating of a settlement that covers medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, lost wages and other economic and non-economic damages.

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